Mission, Values, & History

In many ways, the Foundation’s mission and values are intertwined with those of our community. As a philanthropic organization with a broad community focus, we witness our values being practiced on a daily basis – among community members, students, businesses and nonprofits just to name a few. Collaborative partnerships among these stakeholders continue to propel our community forward through the many challenges that we face.


To invest in our community by making philanthropy and its benefits available to all.


The Foundation's efforts are inspired by four core values:

  • Generosity - To support sharing in all its forms, linking resources with ideas that improve community life.
  • Inclusion - To embrace the contributions of individuals from diverse backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and perspectives.
  • Integrity - To operate with respect, honesty, accountability, and fairness to all.
  • Excellence - To aspire to the highest standards in everything we do.


The Foundation was established in 1919 by Col. Francis Fries with a gift of $1,000, and at the end of 2017 our assets totaled approximately $605 million.  Our community's rich philanthropic legacy is intertwined with that of the Foundation, and is a direct result of the generosity, inclusion, integrity and excellence bestowed by so many community members.  Here are links to more specific information on the Foundation’s historyasset history and key milestones.


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